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AS and A Level: Political Philosophy

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  1. New Beginnings

    We must control the faction problem before another war is the only option the people of South Africa have. Madison was especially concerned with the idea of political factions reaching a state of majority within the government and reaffirmed this belief in the Federalist Papers when he said, "Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice.

    • Word count: 4574
  2. Analyse The Main Features of Classical Liberalism

    John Locke was an English Philosopher. Locke contributed to the influential theory of 'Social Contract' and 'Natural Rights'. His ideas had enormous influence on the development of epistemology and political philosophy, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential Enlightenment thinkers. On the contrary to Locke's views was Thomas Hobbes. John Locke In the 'Two Treatises of Government', he defended the claim that men are by nature free and equal against claims that God had made all people naturally subject to a monarch. He argued that people have rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property, that have a foundation independent of the laws of any particular society.

    • Word count: 2815
  3. Liberalism Notes

    And almost all mainstream ideologies can be regarded as variants of liberalism. * Liberal values/ideas of vital historical importance - central to development of British political tradition UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS AND VALUES OF LIBERALISM * Hall (1986) describes liberals as 'open-minded, tolerant, rational, freedom-loving people, sceptical of the claims of tradition and established authority, but strongly committed to the values of liberty, competition and individual freedom'. 19th century liberalism 'stood for individualism in politics, civil and political rights, parliamentary government, moderate reform, limited state intervention, and a private enterprise economy'. Widespread agreement over key liberal ideas/values - though not over their later development and interpretation.

    • Word count: 4595
  4. How far did Conservative governments conform to traditional conservatism between 1945 and 1990?

    Coming out of World War II, Trade Unions suddenly had more political influence and power, certainly more than they'd ever had before. Their aim was to reform socio-economic conditions for working men in British industries, and while the conservatives learned to accept trade union existence, traditional conservatives generally viewed them as an inconvenience and, particularly from 1950-1970, saw them as having too much control over government issues. Governments in this time were forced to work closely with Trade Unions to regulate wages and avoid strikes, though the government in 1971 did try to increase powers so as to limit strikes, but this ultimately failed.

    • Word count: 1276
  5. Political Ideologies

    Legal equality, political equality but not social equality as everyone has different skills - equality of opportunity not outcome * Talented should rule, positions should be distributed on the basis of ability > Toleration * A way to protect individualism and allow social enrichment * Promotes debate about issues to test each one * Debate will not lead to conflict as there are usually a natural harmony between beliefs and views > Consent * Authority and social relationships should be based on willingness * Favour representation and authority 'from below' > Constitutionalism * Government is needed to maintain order and

    • Word count: 1486
  6. Evaluate the different interpretations of the role of the state

    Also by no having any welfare provisions they were upholding a strong state that was full on inequality and exploitation of the working class especially during industrialisation. A one-nation approach then emerged that tried to solve some of the criticisms of traditional conservative ideology. Having a state as a welfare provider was a key principle to this variation. It is much he same as modern liberalism in the idea of protecting the working classes. However where as modern liberals wanted to liberate the working class from social evils to give them back their freedom, one-nation conservatives were more concerned with a social uprising by the lower orders (Disraeli)

    • Word count: 1141
  7. Trust in the Press is essential in an ever changing society. Not only must the Press be trusted but it must be believed and must behave in an ethical manner. But what constitutes an ethical manner? Laws might be set

    One common rule among journalists is to never reveal your sources. If you do, your career will be tainted with mistrust. This journalistic ethical code secures a relationship with the public and provides protection. But there are laws that contravene this. Section 10 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 says courts have the right to demand that journalists reveal their source if disclosure is necessary in the interests of justice or national security or for the prevention of disorder or crime.

    • Word count: 2284
  8. World Bipolarity

    But this is where the similarities ended. The world split into two significantly different ideological factions, capitalism and communism. In this developed a sphere of influence where the western and democratic states would fall behind the USA and the communist states would be under the influence of the USSR. The cold war, which broke out straight after the second world war, was obviously a period of mutual distrust, raised tensions and conflict; though there was no actual fighting involved as neither party wanted to start a third world war just as soon as they had managed to resolve the second one.

    • Word count: 662
  9. Why is there increasing disillusionment with party politics in the UK?

    This effect is closely related to the idea of partisan dealignment - people start to identify less with the traditional main parties, and start to consider other options (or none at all). However, there is a flip-side to this. Due to the fact that there is, for the uneducated fellow, no discernable difference between Lib-Lab-Con, the average person starts to consider more minor, radical parties. This is, in my opinion, a good effect, for it makes the system more democratic.

    • Word count: 760
  10. Is the Conservative Party today still genuinely conservative?

    Critics of this reform, suggest that he has swayed too far from traditional Tory values and principles. Therefore, the purpose of this text, is not to agree or disagree with Social Conservatism, but to investigate whether this new brand of Conservatism is a little too far to the left to be branded 'conservative'. Many policies, particularly on the social level, have been changed by the 'Cameron Revolution'. In more ways than one, Cameron's policies are more akin to liberal policies than those of traditional conservatives.

    • Word count: 914
  11. To what extent is there continuity between traditional Conservatism and the New Right?

    These flaws are intrinsic to the human condition but the differences between these two strands of conservatism stem from how best to accommodate these imperfections. Whilst both agreeing that society is a natural, inevitable and desirable feature of human life, classical conservatism believes that the best way to protect the individual and society from the flaws of the individual are through authority and strict law and order. They believe negative freedom, subscribed to by liberals, is a recipe for chaos.

    • Word count: 1140
  12. Even in the 21st Century There are Grounds for Arguing that Governments are Dominated by Small Elites

    This links in with the claim from the extract where "the sons of the power elite" are "socialised" to enhance their "movement into positions similar to those held by their fathers." In the US, if Hillary Clinton becomes president, two families would have dominated the president for nearly thirty years. In both Parliament and Congress women and ethnic minorities are underrepresented. 19.7% of MPs are women and 13.8% of those in Congress are women. 2.3% of MPs are from an ethnic minority, while 14.4% of Congressmen are from ethnic minorities.

    • Word count: 1208
  13. Ethos, Pathos & Logos in Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

    How does his inclusion of his feeling change the reader's feeling or understanding of Dr. King and this statement of fact? It clearly builds Dr. King's ethos as a caring human being. Dr. King also quotes his opposition, giving the reader a direct experience of their words, inviting readers to judge for themselves. In this, Dr. King creates a sense of his fairness. For example, Dr. King uses the quote "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" a quote from the clergy he is addressing in his letter, to introduce his discussion of the new administration, like the old, being segregationists.

    • Word count: 1186
  14. "The US Constitution is entrenched and rigid; the UK has no Constitution worthy of that name." To what extent do you agree with this view? (40 marks)

    There may have been so few changes because of attitudes. American's have a reverence for the Constitution and a great reluctance to tinker with it. Most support Horace Walpole when he said 'Everybody talks of the Constitution, but all sides forget that the Constitution is extremely well, and would do very well, if they would but leave it alone'. This contrasts significantly with the situation in the UK, where Constitutional reform and modernisation has been a central plank of the New Labour governments, and essentially a vote winner.

    • Word count: 1381
  15. "At the heart of New Right thought, lies the paradox of libertarian and authoritarian belief". To what extent do you support this quotation?

    As the New Right supports both these views it is hard to decipher what role the state should play within the political regime. Libertarianism is a view that upholds the principle of individual liberty. Libertarians believe that all people are the absolute owners of their own lives, and should be free to do whatever they wish with themselves or with property, provided they allow other people this same freedom. Broadly speaking, there are two types of libertarians: rights theorists and consequentialists.

    • Word count: 1679
  16. Is Liberalism compatible with democracy?

    In this sense, modern Liberals do not see the government necessarily as a major threat to individual freedom. Democracy as a term comes from the Greek. 'Demos' meaning the people and 'Kratos' meaning authority or rule. A democracy is a system of government in which ultimate political power rests with a nation's population at large, either directly or through elected representatives. In a democracy, citizens have the right to participate in political decision-making. Democracy is not an ideology, but rather an ideal that can be reached or embodied by various institutional arrangements according to one's ideological conception of freedom, participation, rights, and other philosophical issues.

    • Word count: 1564
  17. Discuss the rival concepts of individualism and contrasting models of freedom within Liberalism

    Therefore Classical Liberals support the idea of negative freedom, that individuals should be free to make their own decisions without interference, e.g. from the state. This rests on the assumption that the choices they make will be reasonable and beneficial whereas state intervention will encourage laziness and dependence on others. The concept of negative freedom means that Classical Liberals are hostile towards state intervention and regard it as necessary only to safeguard individual rights and freedoms, such as those of "life, liberty and property" set out by John Locke.

    • Word count: 1026
  18. Are Judges Politicians In Disguise?

    The eventual decision was that the woman should have the choice, meaning the democrats view was supported and placed by the Supreme Court judges, causing debate on whether the decision was mechanical or political, and raising the issue if judges are too alike to politicians. A main argument put forward that judges cannot be independent and partisan was when Historian Howard Zinn has claimed in his book A People's History of the United States that the justices cannot be independent, as the members are chosen by the president and ratified by the Senate.

    • Word count: 1702
  19. To what extent has socialism been defined by its opposition to capitalism?

    It was therefore seen as revolutionary when Utopian Socialists, such as Robert Owen emerged, creating utopian communities where the emphasis was on sharing the accumulated wealth and getting rid of the exploitation that capitalists were advocating. Hence, groups like the Co-operative Society emerged. In contrast however, the likes of Marx and Engels believed the only way to overthrow the capitalist regime was through a revolution, which if necessary would be violent. This meant also destroying the class system to manifest the bourgeoisie and remove them, allowing equality irrespective of how people had lived before.

    • Word count: 807
  20. Is Increasing Dependency an Inevitable Result of the Development Process?

    Dependency theory was first developed in the late 1950's by the Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, Raul Prebisch. Prebisch and his contemporaries were concerned by the fact that economic growth in advanced industrialized economies did not necessarily lead to growth in the poorer countries2. In contrast their work suggested that "economic activity in the richer countries often led to serious economic problems in the poorer countries"3. The popularity of dependency theory grew in the 1960's and 70's as a response to the widespread criticism of the failings of modernization theory.

    • Word count: 1959
  21. Stages to Germany from 1918 to 1919

    Despite the fact that the new chancellor Prince Max of Baden, appointed by Wilhelm II, had soon gone into serious negotiation with the Allies, the situation for the German government, both home and abroad, was growing increasingly serious. By September the military leaders Hindenburg and Ludendorff were so alarmed by the threat of military defeat and invasion that they decided to bring about political reform. The general aim was to change Germany from being a semi-autocracy into a constitutional monarchy, which involved the creation of a parliamentary democracy with reduced powers for the Kaiser.

    • Word count: 1204
  22. Free essay

    Individualism and liberal theories

    made in terms of the individuals implies that the society should be constructed so as the benefit to the individual, giving moral priority to the individuals right, needs or interests. However, one of the main elements that Liberalism is made up of is individualism, including other elements such as rationalism and linear progress. Liberalism refers to the ideas and theories of government that consider individual liberty to be the most important political goal. Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity.

    • Word count: 1016
  23. US politcal parties

    Another cited example of this is the present president of the US. George Bush, who is officially a Republican, is also seen to be a Democrat. Again just as Kerry he believes in the principles of a Democratic Government. This does not mean that both Kerry and Bush are members of each others parties while also being in opposite parties. Rather it demonstrates that to an extent members of the Republican Party can share ideas of the Democrats and vice versa.

    • Word count: 688
  24. Advantages and disadvantages of utilitarianism

    For example in one set of circumstances action A may be the most appropriate, while under other circumstances action B might bring more happiness to more people. Therefore, an action is justified in terms of its usefulness in any one particular case. The theory is therefore one of universal ethical hedonism. If an action brings or increases pleasure (happiness) then it is right. Bentham proposed the 'Hedonic calculus' to calculate the most pleasurable action. Seven elements are taken into consideration; the intensity, duration, certainty, remoteness, choice of there being further pleasures, purity (not followed by pain)

    • Word count: 1021
  25. Free essay

    "Science is the only means by which Truth can be known." Discuss.

    We can also prove the hypothesis through experiment, thus is a reliable way to prove truths. However, science does not give absolute certainty, as we can never predict what will happen in the future. The result of experiments might change with time. While the theory is tested many times, the hypothesis is only true until falsified (Karl Popper), where new evidence and data might change our understanding and the truth. Historical truth, in a way, is part of a scientific truth as it requires observation and hypothesis.

    • Word count: 580

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